NASDAQ Bitcoin Futures, Tokenized REITs And Mark Cuban's Fitness Cryptocurrency
Vol 44, December 4, 2018
|Dec 5, 2018|| 1|
Our weekly roundup of some of the significant blockchain news this week to help you navigate the rapidly changing global blockchain landscape.
Number of the Week
TRON Arcade, a fund dedicated to investments in blockchain gaming apps. TRON previously acquired BitTorrent.
The World Trade Organization (WTO) released a report on blockchain technology’s effect on international trade. According to the study, blockchain’s economic value-add on a global scale could reach almost $3 trillion by 2030. The study estimates that blockchain has the potential to significantly cut trade costs by increasing transparency and facilitating processes automation, including financial intermediation, exchange rate costs, coordination, and other aspects. “The removal of barriers due to blockchain could result in more than $ 1 trillion of new trade in the next decade,” the report reads.
“Blockchain could make international trade smarter, but smart trade requires smart standardization — and smart standardization can only happen through cooperation. If we succeed in creating an ecosystem conducive to the wider development of blockchain, international trade could well look radically different in ten to 15 years.” However, these opportunities can only be realized if firms and producers have the right technical skills and enjoy adequate internet access. Addressing the digital gap in terms of access and bandwidth is of key importance. Like any innovation, Blockchain carries with it the risk of disrupting some sectors and categories of workers.
The world’s second-largest stock exchange, Nasdaq, has confirmed it plans to launch Bitcoin futures in the first half of 2019. The stock market giant has been eyeing the crypto space “for years” and has been working on its Bitcoin (BTC) futures product for “most” of 2018. “We’ve put a hell of a lot of money and energy into delivering the ability to do this and we’ve been all over it for a long time — way before the market went into turmoil, and that will not affect the timing of this in any way. No. Period. We’re doing this no matter what.”
Banks Itaú Unibanco Holding SA and Standard Chartered have partnered to develop a blockchain-based platform for small syndicated loans. This platform is the first to go live in Latin America for so-called club loans, a kind of syndicated loan with a smaller group of lenders. Brazil's largest private lender, Itaú, raised $100 million with Standard Chartered and Wells Fargo & Co in a club loan to test the platform. The transaction was executed on R3's Corda.
In the first offering of its kind, U.S. investors can now acquire a piece of South Carolina real estate in the form of blockchain tokens. The tokens represent ownership in a luxury student residence called The Hub, which is located near the University of South Carolina in the state’s capital. The offering is significant because it amounts to the first tokenized REIT in the U.S. This means the owner, Convexity Properties, is providing a traditional real estate investment but one that uses blockchain—a tamper proof ledger technology run across disparate computers—to parcel out stakes.
China has a "love-hate relationship" with cryptocurrency and the blockchain with many in the country seeing significant opportunities in the latter. While the Chinese government is investing in the blockchain, "what they are not endorsing is the crypto part of things, which is challenging the fundamental of financial systems." Shanghai, Shanxi, Henan, Guangzhou, Guiyang and Hangzhou have all issued policies to encourage blockchain development. 41 percent of new Chinese companies that received funding in the first quarter of 2017 were blockchain-related.
SV Insight Research analyzed data from “State of the Dapps” from September 12, 2018, to October 18, 2018, and found that gambling Dapps account for most of the Dapps. The team selected the top ten gambling Dapps based on daily activities and discovered that China’s development teams occupy four seats. In addition, for players’ country category, China also has the most players. FarmEOS became a hit since its launch on October 16, 2018. On October 17, its 24-hr turnover was more than 100 million RMB.
One of the top U.S. financial regulators, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), has released its second guide to understanding smart contracts, with a reminder that the technology is covered under financial rules. Described as an “educational tool” rather than official policy, it covers the basics of blockchain smart contracts including their history, characteristics, case studies, potential use cases and perceived risks. “Existing law and regulation apply equally regardless what form a contract takes. Contracts or constituent parts of contracts that are written in code are subject to otherwise applicable law and regulation,” the primer reads. In order to protect investors and their capital, the agency said, it will ensure that all transactions are subject to the CEA.
Major U.S. healthcare companies have formed an alliance to trial blockchain solutions in order to improve data quality and reduce costs. The Synaptic Health Alliance group consists of Humana, Multiplan, UnitedHealth Group's Optum, UnitedHealthcare, Quest Diagnostics, and has recently been joined by Ascension — the largest not-for-profit health system in the U.S. according to Modern Healthcare — and CVS Health-Aetna, which has an estimated 22 million of members.
Blockchain and specifically cryptocurrencies captivated the world throughout 2017 and attracted a lot of new consumers interested in the space. Despite the unfavorable price action, innovation in the space has continued to forge ahead and last week a familiar name in the sports and technology space made his latest investment, as Mark Cuban launched the “nation’s first” blockchain fitness app with partner Lympo.
Lympo is designed to be a cryptocurrency token intended to incentivize users to lead healthier lifestyles by rewarding such behavior. Cuban has said that the application will be the first to directly incentivize and reward exercise with a token that provides monetary value and not just speculative value. Lympo will use gamification to reward users with cryptocurrency tokens as they complete walking and running challenges that will be displayed on the website.
Proteum is a global blockchain advisory firm that works with public, private and start-up companies to help them transition into the world of blockchains and decentralized applications. We help companies strategically build their capabilities so that they can own and control their future. Let's put blockchains to work for your business.
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